Before any of the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets rolling-off the production line in Saint Louis, Mo., can be delivered to the US Navy, the aircraft have to be vetted by company and Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) pilots before formally being handed over to the government with the signing of Form DD-250.
One company pilot who flies some of these test missions is Steve “Bull” Schmidt, a former Navy F-14 Tomcat aviator. According to Boeing, Schmidt has flown more than 400 production first flights in the T-45, F-15 and F-18. In this video, Schmidt takes the viewer through one of these check rides.Of note, look at the indicated airspeed as Schmidt passes through Mach 1 at 50,000ft–it’s only 256 knots. An interesting factoid, apparently the F-model is a touch faster at supersonic speeds than the E-model according to Mark Gammon, Boeing’s Hornet advanced projects chief. That’s because the longer canopy helps with the jet’s area ruling, he says.